Recent Blog Posts
Since December, I’ve done nothing on this site… talk about a work unfinished. I have other work unfinished, including nine works-in-progress that I hope someday to be nine novels. More about that later…
Where to start? I’ve left this site alone and unattended for months now. I’m surprised I remembered it was here.
But I’m back now. Again.
What’s happening? First, I am creating a new site to ignore and abandon. It will be a blog about security, all kinds of security, but mostly information security. I have a post written, but I have to build a site, which brings me to my next item – a rant against Multi-User WordPress.
Multi-User WordPress sounds great on the surface. Manage a bunch of sites from one central dashboard and a single install of WP, maintain control of plug-ins, it’s all very simple! Not so much. I tried for a couple of hours to create a second site in my MUWP install to no avail. Authentication was a huge deal – my designated admin for the site could not log in, nor could my MUWP Super-Admin. I deleted the site multiple times and rebuilt it with no success. Finally, I decided it was too much effort all together and uninstalled the MUWP function from my WordPress install. I’ll create a completely separate install of WP to do the security blog on.
I’ve been on my new host since February and so far it has gone well. I got everything migrated over from my free WordPress.com install and I’ve been reinstalling many of the features that I had on my previous site. There will be some things that just don’t work for a while, but bear with me as I work through restoring the full functionality of my site.
I’ll also try to pretty things up a bit. Even when I was on my previous paid hosting provider, the site was ugly. I’m trying to work on that, but since I’m not a web designer, this work will be slow. I’ll probably end up paying some college student to spiff it up. Sometime…
What about my writing, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked. I am reviving The Daedalus Solution. I wrote a blog post last year about shelving the work, but I’ve determined that it is the best candidate to commit to finishing. It’s June, past midway, so I have only four months to work on it before I begin a brand new work in November for NaNoWriMo.
What’s NaNoWriMo, you ask? You haven’t gone back to read ANY of my old posts have you? NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It happens every November and is organized by NaNoWriMo.org (formally known as the Office of Letters and Light). It is a writing challenge that asks participants to write 50,000 words in 30 days (that’s 1667 words per day for those of you who are counting). Various companies sponsor the challenge and offer to participants deals on everything from software to cover design to editing. Those that “win” (write 50,000 words) are offered even more/better deals. you should really check out the site if you are at all interested.
I’m really excited about this year’s NaNoWriMo, because if all goes well, I will be a Municipal Liaison. What’s that you ask? A Municipal Liaison helps organize events during NaNoWriMo like a kick-off/launch event and multiple write-ins where participants come together to write. A ML does all kinds of other things to facilitate the month-long event for writers participating in their region. I’m excited to get the chance to do this in my seventh year of scrambling to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Stay tuned for more.
There are lots of changes coming in the near term. The most notable change will be the look, feel, and functionality of the site. This is due to changing from my current shared hosting site, which I used to love wholeheartedly, to a hosted WordPress.com site. This change is primarily driven by a lack of funds to continue paying for my shared hosting plan.
I don’t make money off this blog. Heck, almost no one reads it except me, and only then to copy edit it. I can’t continue to pay money into it, for now, so I am moving to a free WordPress.com site, with limited functionality, no ability to upload plugins, no ability to use my own themes, and various other limitations. It’s OK, as realistically, as little as I post, I will probably have found new, more affordable, shared hosting by the time I am ready to post again.
So, if you are one of the VERY few who read this, be prepared for some changes. They will be temporary, one to three months, as I find a new hosting provider and migrate all my content. For the time I am on the WordPress.com site, there will be no older posts available and no chess games presented, as I will not be able to use my chess game plugin.
As soon as I find a new provider, I will upload my older posts, get my plugins installed and present new material. The WordPress.com site will essentially be a placeholder, although I may post a couple of announcements there as I look for new hosting and prepare to migrate my content. During all of this I hope to be writing on one of my many works-in-progress and will update you on that as well.
This will be the last post on this hosting provider and the first post (probably) on the WordPress.com site. I will have a new domain name, but my old one will point to the new site also. The new name is quietlypassingbyme.wordpress.com. There is nothing there right now except filler content, so give me a day or so to get everything settled and in place.
Until you read here again, have a happy new year!
Last post – June. How very sad…
My, how the time has flown by! I have some announcements, some information, some hopes, some really vivid dreams (probably won’t post those), and… a new NaNoWriMo novel!
Yes, after neglecting this site for months, I decided to plunge into November’s National Novel Writing Month adventure again. I picked a new genre this year – fantasy, a la Tolkien, Martin, Lewis and others, although more like Martin than the other two. I have a story with castles, royals, nobles, secret societies, supernatural beings, fighting, and intrigue.
The fighting is all done with swords, knives, bows, arrows, shields, armor and the like. There are kings that rule only for a predetermined amount of time, and who must earn the right to rule, not just be the lucky first-born of an existing monarch. I am building an entire world to wrap my story in, but did not spend much time on that during November. I am working on that during December and will not finish this work until sometime next year.
There’s not much story, even with 50,000 words written already. Just some background, some side scenes, some character introduction and reintroduction, and a bit of fighting. I think I have the makings of a decent tale if I can ever finish building the world. The biggest challenge will be keeping track of all the characters, as there are more characters already in this novel (and I haven’t finished adding characters) than there are in any three of my previous works combined.
I’m still using Scrivener to write, Scapple to keep track of random ideas, and Evernote (more on this topic later, grr) to keep even more ideas together, but I have added a new tool called Bibisco to my arsenal this year. I’m not writing in it, but it does provide this feature and if I choose to copy over my chapters from Scrivener, Bibisco will provide me with several bits of information about my novel, including how frequently and where characters appear, where narrative threads show up in the story and other interesting data. Check it out, it’s free and open source. Be warned, it is somewhat resource intensive, but the tradeoff is a powerful tool to keep track of your novel that is fairly self-contained. I simply extracted the download into my Dropbox folder and I’m able to use it on any computer that has my Dropbox synced to it.
Speaking of Evernote. I’m not happy with their current subscription model. I hemmed and hawed over what level to subscribe at because I couldn’t use the free version anymore with its ridiculously restrictive device limits, but didn’t need all the bells and whistles of the Premium version. Finally found the “in-the-middle” Plus version and it fits just fine. I figured I would have to subscribe to Evernote at some point, as I stuff just about every thought and interesting web item into it, but with the two device limit of the free version, I had to jump on the subscription bandwagon earlier than I thought. Still an amazing tool and worth every penny.
I will try to post more over the next few weeks as I world build and write on this new novel. I might include some character introductions or even some draft sections of some of the chapters. We’ll see.
Thanks for being REAL patient with me as I blurrily ran through the last few weeks of this year, completely neglecting this site.
Will write again soon!
I have shelved The Daedalus Solution, my forthcoming science fiction thriller, indefinitely. Why would I do that? Wasn’t I close to finishing? What about the characters I’ve already introduced to my faithful readers? Here’s the scoop on what is going on with me and my writing.
I know my website says “Future home of The Daedalus Solution” and maybe someday it will be, but not for the foreseeable future. I’ll be removing that header text after I finish this post. I completely stopped writing for personal reasons last June for several weeks, stretching into months. I skipped NaNoWriMo in November, and have only written short scenes, word sketches, and vignettes up until last month. I was unable to concentrate on and tie together more than a few thousand words at a time. I tried all kinds of motivational writing, trying to break out of my writer’s block, but nothing worked.
So here it is June already…
I started writing what I hope to be an action-packed, very raw, exploration of human relationships of all kinds – those baked slowly over time, those microwaved in life-threatening situations, and those radically changed by a watershed event. You can count on plenty of action, interaction, twists, and, I believe in this case, potentially a few situations that may make you uncomfortable. That’s not my goal, per se, but I can see it happening.
I don’t have a title yet. I don’t have a character arc. I don’t know who the antagonist is. At this point there’s more that I don’t know than I know. But…
I’m writing. It is a start.
I hope to make significant progress on this before falling into the madness of NaNoWriMo later this year. I haven’t mapped out a writing timeline, but if I can continue at the pace I am on, I will have a completed first draft before October, when I will begin to outline a new project for NaNoWriMo and furiously charge through the first fifty thousand words of it in thirty days once November arrives.
My apologies to those who were looking forward to a sci-fi novel as my debut work, as it looks like that’s not going to happen, unless my current project takes a strange turn.
Just a couple of random thoughts to conclude with-
First, give Dilbert a break! Scott Adams published a Dilbert cartoon in May that poked a little fun at climate science and scientists and a lot of fun at those who are quick to condemn anyone who is even the least bit skeptical of “climate change”. Climate scientists use models, lots of them, and I am not one to make any claims about which ones they trust and which ones they dismiss, but the fact remains that the hysteria of the 90s in regards to the “disappearing” polar ice caps and the end of the polar bear, and other wild claims made by climate profiteers such as Al Gore has pretty much been just that – hysteria.
Polar bears are alive and well and increasing in population, the polar ice caps remain, but that’s not really the point. The point is, the perception of the skeptical public is that empirical data and models that propose future events based on that data are at best, haphazardly picked and at worst, selected only on their ability to predict the apocalyptic demise of the world. I know this is not the case, but if I had a financial planner with the track record of the climate models used in the past, I would have fire him or her a long time ago.
No, my beef is with those that the Dilbert cartoon pokes the most fun at – those people who attach the “climate denier” label to anyone who questions ANY part of the dramatic and dismal predictions of the climate science community. The character in the cartoon doesn’t even question the climate science. He questions the economic models, but is quickly labeled a “science denier”. Most of the “scientists” hysterically moaning about this cartoon are completely and blissfully un-self-aware. Leave Dilbert alone! That’s all I have to say about that.
Second – and I say this will all the love I can muster – Democrats and you feral leftists, please, please, please, get over the election! Trump is president because the system that you love when it works for you and hate when it doesn’t put him there based on the votes of the citizens (for the most part, see Virginia for a few exceptions) of the United States. Quit avoiding blaming the poor campaigning skills and general unpleasantness of Hillary Clinton for her loss. Quit grasping at stupid reasons like “Trump collusion with Russia”. Please believe that a huge percentage of Americans are tired of apologizing for being American, tired of the whining of young liberal snowflakes, tired of offensive chants and organizations based on lies and misinformation, and tired of the divisive nature of leftist politics. It would make conversations with you so much more productive to skip the nonsense and actually talk about ideas, instead of being personally attacked, both verbally and physically. Just had to put that out there…
Thanks for reading, and I hope to post again soon!
Do you find it depressing when your childhood likes are lost? You know, like when you used to love to eat marshmallows, but now, could care less? Or you liked to roll around in the grass, but now it just makes you itch? These are pretty lame examples, I admit, but how about that TV show that you loved to watch growing up, but now when you see it, you have to look away because it is so bad?
I’ve recently realized that one of my almost childhood likes is definitely lost. When I was in my late teens, I would every now and then catch an episode of Bill Nye, the Science Guy. It was fun to watch because he made the topics he addressed fun and interesting, even to an almost 20-year-old. I was glad to see someone make science interesting, because all of the science shows I grew up with during my actual childhood were BORING! (Disclaimer – I don’t truly know now if they were actually boring, or if I was just not interested, or didn’t have the patience to watch them).
But now, every time I see Bill Nye, I just have to close my eyes and put my fingers in my ears, because he spouts more nonsense than science these days. As I look at the profile of his late 90s show on IMDb, the summary describes him as a scientist/comedian, but I would argue that those should be switched. He was entertaining and based on his recent appearances in relation the Earth Day and the “Science March” and a nasty “discussion” on CNN where he attempts to belittle a climate change skeptic, I have to say he fits right in with most “entertainers” with his shockingly leftist ideas and methods of dealing with opposing viewpoints. Let me cite some examples to prove my point:
He publicly said that climate change skeptics (he calls them “deniers”) should be removed from scientific discourse. Fair warning, the link goes to salon.com, so be sure to get your waders on tight before walking into that muck. Sounds like a leftist idea to me – just silence the opposition because they don’t adhere to MY set of “facts”. This grinds against the very core of scientific inquiry. We should never be content with today’s “facts” or today’s technology or today’s “accepted” ideas. Why would anyone serious about scientific inquiry and research ever say this? The rest of the article is as alarming and gloomy and leftist as you can imagine.
He claims, like many leftists, that we just haven’t spent enough money to acheive our goals. We hear this all the time right? Spend more money on public assistance, on unemployment benefits, on food stamps, on any leftist ideal-pick one you like, and eventually, once we’ve spent enough money, we will solve the problem. How much is enough we ask? The answer – Keep spending until the problem is fixed. Seriously? He claims that we haven’t spent enough money on alternative energy to make it work efficiently. Translation – the government hasn’t invested enough taxpayer dollars in failing alternative energy companies (usually owned by people who are politically well connected) to find the one company (if it even exists) that can make solar and wind power viable alternatives to oil, coal, and natural gas. Look, if these energy sources were truly able to compete with fossil fuels, why would a company need government (actually, your) money to make them financially successful? There would be investors beating down their doors to get in on the certain financial windfall from such a success. He rambles on in the Salon article referenced above about not only investing more in the tecnologies, but tries to imply that all of the problems with them are solvable, with more money. If more money was invested we could figure out how to not kill birds and bats with wind farms, and how to make better solar cells, blah, blah, blah. But we should just go ahead and invest the money because these technologies will pay for themselves AND create millions of jobs if we just sink enough money into them. But it won’t happen, because wind and solar, without major technological breakthroughs, cannot provide the raw amount of power needed for our technologically advanced nation. Which leads to the next point.
Bill Nye, along with others, also claims that the fossil fuel companies are deliberately holding back progress on alternative energy source research because they are afraid of losing their monopoly and profits. What bunk! All major fossil fuel companies are also researching alternative energy sources. They already know how to produce, process and deliver energy sources, so why would they not continue to research other means of providing energy? See this article from climatechangenews.com from last year citing moves by the companies they call “big oil” (That’s not a term of endearment). Read the article with your eyes, ears and mind open, as it takes an alarmingly negative slant to the news that “big oil” is investing in renewable/clean/alternative energy and cites ulterior motives like (gasp!) making money, as the main drivers of this “change”.
Nye also claims that climate change skeptics “cherry pick” data to try to disprove climate change alarmists, but this is nothing compared to the behavior of multiple “scientific” studies of climate change by otherwise reputable organizations. From NOAA’s manipulation of raw temperature data to the IPCCs “hockey stick” graphs of temperature readings designed to exaggerate the increase in temperatures, to the Climatic Research Unit’s hacked emails that implied an inability to gather the specific data (increasing temperatures) they were looking for based on their models and what they could do about that. The assumption was always that the data that supported their models was there, but they didn’t know how to collect it. Right… You would be wise NOT to rely on Wikipedia’s articles on these controversies as they are decidedly skewed, which is a sad state of affairs for a supposedly “neutral” information source.
Last, our friend Bill is less informed about the Constitution than he is about science. He has repeatedly taken Article I, Section 8 of our founding document wildly out of context. He rambles on about how the government is charged “to promote the progress of science and useful arts”. “Useful arts” in this context, according to him is actually engineering and design. I disagree with this definition and you will see why shortly. He seems to think that this is grounds for demanding money from the government for research and other scientific efforts, but this interpretation is SO WRONG. Bill conveniently leaves out the rest of the sentence, which puts this statement into proper context – “by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”. This allows the government to make laws concerning patent and copyright. It is not a mandate to support unwarranted or unpopular research, or for that matter to support crude art in typical National Endowment for the Arts style.
It is hard watching Bill Nye be so wrong about so many things with the disturbing confidence he displays, and at times the abrasive and rude condescension he shows to anyone who disagrees with him is stomach-churning. The end-all, be-all arbiter of scientific knowledge he is not, particularly on climate change (even though he wrote a book about it), but he makes a great acolyte to, and defender of, the religion of man-made climate change because he’s so polite when he insults those who disagree with him. His understanding of the constitution is even less comprehensive and unfortunately, no one has called him out on this. Alas, I feel all icky inside thinking I once thought he was cool.
This post marks the return of chess game analysis! I used to do this, a LONG time ago on my site when I was running Joomla as my CMS. Then I switched to WordPress, and didn’t have a cool plug-in to post my games anymore, then I quit playing chess on a regular basis and the every other week chess game analysis article disappeared from my site. But it’s back now, and it’s about time.
The goal of this article is not so much to show off a brilliant game, which this is not, or to wax eloquently about strategy, or position, or other such high commentary. No, this is designed to let me pontificate about my in-game thoughts as an amateur chess player. I run my games, wins and losses, through strong chess engines to see where mistakes were made, where better moves could have been played, and where games turn to wins or losses depending on the moves made. I then look at the comments from the engine and try to remember what I was thinking when I made the move. It is these thoughts that I present in my articles.
On to today’s game. This was a standard rated game, thirty minutes for each player, played on the Free Internet Chess Server, my favorite place to play since I can use my favorite interface, BabasChess, to play games. Yes, it hasn’t been updated, to my knowledge, since 2007, but it still works great, even running under Windows 10. My opponent’s ELO was roughly 150+ points higher than mine (Many times I have reflected on the cruelty of this transparency. I hate the fact that I can see my opponent’s ELO – it makes me nervous and hesitant to play some opponents, but if I met them face to face over a chess board, I would sit right down and play, blissfully unaware of their ELO), so I started cautiously, as you will see. I am playing the black pieces in this game. Click on the first move to see the chessboard navigation window. You can then move through the game with my commentary. You can also click on any move to skip to that stage of the game.
Some general notes on the game. My opponent did not effectively utilize all of his pieces. The knight on c3, the bishop on d3, and the rook on a1 were not used in meaningful ways (the bishop did finally eliminate a threat to the king at move 35) and may as well have not been on the board. The rook on a1 never moved. The only useful thing it did was protect the other rook when it moved back to h1 (the blunder).
I’ll admit that I do not have a clear understanding of the nature of the blunder, other than the fact that the rook could not participate in helping the queen protect the king. I’ll keep looking at that, but if you have an insight, please, put it in the comments.
And yes, I missed a mate in 1. Shame on me. Again, tunnel vision. I had been tiptoeing around the white pieces and when I looked for a safe square that also put the king in check, I saw d2 first and stopped processing possibilities. At least I kept my head together and finished with the point. I was a piece down and starting to fear that my attack had fizzled like a North Korean missile.
I’m no master, I just enjoy playing chess.
I hope you liked this glimpse into my frantic chess mind. I plan to post more games in the future, assuming I continue to play on a regular basis.
There’s a whole lot of lunacy out there folks, and it doesn’t get much loonier than an article posted recently on the South African instance of the Huffington Post, a website that never fails to either offend or amuse me every time I temporarily lose my sanity and visit it. They really should dispense with all of their myriad categories of blogs, articles, and posts with cute names like “Voices” and label it all “comedy”, or at best “satire”, but I digress, back to the article at hand.
Feminist and philosophy student Shelley Garland penned an article titled “Could it be time to deny white men the franchise?“. I hesitate to recommend you follow the link and read the article, but as long as you have someone around to pick you up off the floor after you pass out laughing, go ahead and read it – that way you can see first hand how crazy the premise of the article is. I warn you – this is top-shelf feminist ranting and it is so oblivious to its own failings of logic that I have no real need to tear it apart here. But I needed a topic to write on and this one jumped out at me full force.
Where to start? If you spared yourself the pain of reading the article, here are the author’s main points:
- Men, particularly white men, have dealt the “progressive cause” the biggest blows, apparently since the beginning of time.
- Everything wrong with the world was caused by white men.
- White men are violent, reckless, and toxic.
- White men should “temporarily” lose the right to vote, but don’t worry, only for 20 or 30 years.
- The loss of voting rights will allow everyone else the freedom to make laws to redistribute the wealth of white men, whether they legally and honorably obtained it or not.
- White men owe the world a “debt” for slavery, colonialism and war. Taking their wealth and distributing it to others who didn’t earn it would repay this.
- Individual responsibility is a bad thing.
- White men own everything and almost always get their wealth through theft and violence.
- The unfairness of denying white men their vote is a small price to pay for a more perfect world, where everyone has more stuff.
- White men suck.
Ready to vomit yet? It gets better – after a massive backlash to the article, the editor-in-chief of the South African edition of the Huffington Post tripled-down and said that not only was there nothing in the article that should have shocked or surprised anyone, because feminists have been talking about this for decades, but then proceeded to suggest that those who were surprised or shocked just didn’t read the article correctly AND, get this, the ideas in the article, particularly those concerning “undue power”are “blindingly obvious”. Herein lies the very reason I ascribe no validity whatsoever to anything on the Huffington Post. Hang on – I’ll be right back after I throw up.
I’m going to refer to a well-circulated set of sayings attributed to Abraham Lincoln, although I’m not positive that attribution is 100% correct. They’re called “The 10 Cannotments”. I only need six of the ten to make my point, although the others deal with personal responsibility which apparently is also a terrible thing in the eyes of the author of the article.
Cannotment number two says “you cannot help small people by tearing down big people”, while number three follows up on that by stating “you cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong”. Setting aside the connotations of “big” and “small”, let’s put this in terms of people, who by either luck, providence, or planning, are successful in the eyes of the world versus those whose status in life is not as well off. The main idea of the article is that the best way to help everyone else (all those who are not white and male) is by weakening and tearing down the strong and successful, specifically by taking away their right to vote. This is a silly idea and not only unjust and unfair, but it violates the very core idea of representative government. What good it would do is debatable as even the author of the article states that white men are only a small percentage of the world’s population. So how does denying them voting rights help everyone else?
The goal behind white men losing the vote is apparently to make laws to redistribute their wealth to those who have less. This will, of course, make the world a better place, because it will be much more equitable. Cannotment number four says that “you cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer”, and number five says “you cannot help the poor by destroying the rich”. How very true in both cases. Where will wages come from if the person who pays them no longer has the means to do so? I know, this assumes that people should earn what they are given, which is such a backward, conservative idea. Surely it would be better just to forcefully take money from the rich and give it away to those in need. Right?
The author drives home the fact that all of the problems of the world are the fault of white men, which is not only demonstrably false, but racially biased. Cannotment number seven states that “you cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class/cultural hatred”. This idea of class division, effectively used by our previous president, does nothing to further cooperation between different people. It only manages to instill distrust and apprehension of others.
Finally, the ninth cannotment states “you cannot build character and courage by taking away a person’s initiative and independence”. Taking away rights from a class of people will not help improve their behavior or demeanor, nor will it promote a more equitable and just society. Disenfranchising a group of people will only cause the seed of anger and resentment to grow and finally blossom into a potentially disturbing reaction once those rights are restored.
Full disclosure – I have to mention, for those who don’t know, I am a white male who, shockingly, has no power beyond that afforded to him by those he cares about, by his employer to do his job, and given to him by his government to cast his own vote in favor of the people and policies he believes in. I’ll ask that you not suggest I lose any of that power.
I certainly have a mixed bag of success with my New Year’s resolutions. I know, some of you have already forgotten what your resolutions were, never mind the fact that you blew them before the end of January. We go through this cycle every year – brand new year, brand new ideas, brand new goals, spectacular failure. I know, not everyone fails in keeping their resolutions, but most do. Some people, like me, do well with some resolutions and not so good with others. I admit, I am batting under .500 on my resolutions, but at least three of the ones I have not kept yet involve either long-term work, like to finish writing a book, or are dependent on other people, like teaching my son to drive, which is not so much a resolution as it is a to-do, but it is on my list of stuff for 2017.
One particular resolution I have failed in is posting at least two blog entries here a month. My last post was February. You would figure I could at least find a reason to post something in March, since my birthday is in March, but I didn’t. Not that I had a depressing or disappointing birthday. It was actually really great. I am typing this blog post and all future ones using my birthday present, a mechanical keyboard. For the non-geeks out there, mechanical keyboards are prized by video game players and those of use who like audible and tactile feedback when we type.
I hope to get back on track with my blog posts, maybe I can turn this one around and average two a month by the end of the year. Twenty-four posts. I’ve done that in a month before, so surely I can do it in a year. It is hard to believe that was over a year ago, in February 2016. A lot has happened since then and I have to wonder if there was some higher, even spiritual reason I experienced everything I have in that time. If there is, I can’t see it yet, as I still have made little progress toward finishing a book. I didn’t even participate in last November’s NaNoWriMo event to start a new book, even though I had at least two different ideas I could have run with for 50,000 words. I believe that I should be writing, both blogs and books and even the occasional short story, but sitting down at the computer and doing it has eluded me for quite a while.
Don’t get me wrong. I can sit down at the computer with the best intentions, but an hour or so later when I get up and move around, nothing has been accomplished except viewing a few more YouTube videos or trying my hand at some chess tactics over on Chess.com, or worse, just slogging through the news sites, getting angry and frustrated with people behaving badly and society in general (but not enough to even bang out a short blog post). The fire, the passion to write is just not there and I usually end up retreating from the computer and doing something else.
It is absolutely frustrating to my soul, but I haven’t found a way around the massive writer’s block I seem to have run headlong into over the last few months. Maybe this post, this simple blog post that reads more like a diary entry, will be the start of something. If I want to succeed at one of my 2017 goals, I will need to get busy soon. Finishing a book will take at least two more months of first draft writing, then who knows how many months of editing and revision. I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, so I really need to finish before November 1st if I am serious about publishing before 2018 roars in.
Happy April, everyone! This year is now officially 25% over. I hope that thought keeps you working toward your 2017 goals and resolutions, if you haven’t forgotten them already.
There is so much to write about, I can barely figure out where to start.
I guess first and foremost, with this being the day after the Superbowl, congratulations to the New England Patriots for their amazing win, even if it was at the expense of my preferred team the Atlanta Falcons (not that I am any kind of NFL football fan). Tom Brady is a football magician and obviously doesn’t crack under pressure. Now if he could just find his jersey from the game…
I want to thank Lady Gaga for not turning a sporting event into a political grandstand. While she may have performed “Born This Way”, she refrained from making ridiculous comments and ruining the evening. Sadly, she got a hefty amount of disdain, outright criticism and ugly comments from leftists on social media who felt that she should have taken advantage of her performance to peddle leftist propaganda. Those who commented represented the most reprehensible aspects of the current leftist derangement.
This was a disappointing year in Superbowl commercials. Between the overt politicization and sleazy themes, this was definitely the worst I’ve seen in a long time. I particularly find the NFL’s own commercial “Inside These Lines” to be the most ridiculously ironic commercial of them all. The racial profile of the NFL is so far from being representative of our country as to make the entire commercial a parody. With around 70% of NFL players being “men of color” (black, African-American, pick whatever label feels comfortable to you), their desire to be “all inclusive” was hilarious. I’d say they are good to go as far as including everyone.
The T-Mobile ads that had a Fifty Shades of Gray vibe to them were appalling. What poor taste and terrible presentation. I literally forgot they were T-Mobile ads, which means the commercials failed the most basic tenet of advertising – make the viewer remember what company the commercial was about. All of this politicizing and distasteful, poor advertising placed into thirty second spots costing over five million dollars each, not counting the production costs. Enough about the Superbowl, let’s move on.
President Trump has had a wild first few days in office, but I agree with those who say that he thrives on the turmoil and hysteria of those who oppose him. Never mind that the things he has proposed, supported and said are not wild, alt-right madness, but actually are very, very centrist ideas. This just shows how far left the country has been pushed, manipulated and driven in the last eight years. If he can get the economy going and achieve better than 3% growth (or even just 3%), which never happened under Obama, his “crazy” (not really crazy, just not loony left) ideas will be vindicated. It would be hard for folks to argue if the workforce participation percentage rose to pre-Obama levels. Forget about the unemployment numbers, they’ve been massaged to make it look like Obama did something good for the economy.
The mainstream media, fueled by the ridiculous hysteria of those who don’t understand the difference between legal immigration and illegal immigration, will continue to bash the building of the wall on the southern border. They will pick apart every sentence, tweet, nominee, and facial expression of Trump for the next four years, ever hoping that the next tweet, executive order, confrontation, or speech will be the downfall of our current president.
Strap in, conservatives (and even some of you centrists, when you figure out that President Trump’s ideas are your ideas also, even if they are presented in Trump’s one-of-a-kind style), it is going to be a wild ride!
January 2017 has been here for nineteen days now. The inauguration of President Donald Trump happens tomorrow, most likely amid a circus of protests and nonsense. It is good to know that with the absence of sixty or more Democratic Representatives there will be more room at the inauguration for people who actually care about the peaceful transfer of power.
Am I a huge President Trump fan? Not really. Did I think he was better than the alternative? Definitely. Do I think he can “make America great again” as he promises? Don’t know. I do know that the country was was off on the wrong track under the outgoing administration. Gallup polls tend to agree with me. Check out the numbers here.
The area he made the greatest positive impact on affects a small minority of the population. In the next highest topic, energy, most gains were made in spite of him, not because of anything he did. Climate change, whatever. The economy, which he should have been able to improve by leaps and bounds, was basically a wash (+6 percentage points). There really wasn’t anywhere to go except up with it. The fact that he only squeaked out six points is telling.
Healthcare was evenly divided, no loss or gain. Even with his signature healthcare bill, rammed through Congress on party lines, he made essentially zero impact. Sad. Yes, more Americans have insurance, but so many lost doctors and healthcare plans, things they were promised over and over by the outgoing president that they could keep. Not so much… Also, that $2500 the average household was supposed to save – that didn’t happen either. The bill should be repealed mainly for being a pack of lies and a giant financial blight, with a lot of deceptive math used to explain how it would be financially sound.
In the rest of the criteria, public perception is that America has lost ground in every other category. This includes race relations, including the situation for blacks, America’s world standing, massive debt ($20 trillion dollars – twice as much as when he went into office – it would probably have helped to at least present a budget to Congress, he didn’t bother to do that most years – it obviously interfered with golf, vacation, and hobnobbing with unsavory celebrities), the rise of terrorism, and to crime in general.
How can such a “great president” fail in some many areas? I write it off to the fact that I never felt he cared much about anyone other than himself. His “wonderful speeches” were filled with self-reference, no matter how well he presented them. The fact that most of what he said, particularly in reference to his signature healthcare law, was proven false eventually, diminished my ability to even listen to him drone on in whatever affected speech pattern he may have chosen for the occasion.
All of this to say “good riddance” to the outgoing administration and “welcome” to someone who, if nothing else, will do something different, who will defy the norm, knock down some governmental idols and sacred cows, and maybe, just maybe, get something accomplished in the swamp that is Washington D.C..